About

TLDR - 31-year-old guy looking to be FI in 10 years


BACKGROUND

In December of 2007, at the young age of 19, I left my parents’ home in Pokhara, Nepal, and moved 8000 miles away to Provo, Utah. My dad helped me with airfare, tuition fee for the first semester, and $500 for miscellaneous expenses. It probably took my dad a good ten years to save that kind of money. It was about $7,500 in total. I come from a very middle-class family in a 3rd world country. My parents were able to provide me with every essential need, but I was always reminded about how scarce the money was, and I was only to spend money if necessary. The mindset that I was raised with has always made me very frugal. However, that mindset was all about to change with my move to the United States of America.
Coming to the USA was my dream come true. I had only seen it on TV. I never thought in my wildest dream that I would make it to the USA. I got here right before the market crash of 2008. However, at the time, I was just a student working a minimum wage job, so I wasn’t impacted. Even at the low market crash and no credit history, I was able to get Credit Card from Wells Fargo with a $3,000 credit limit. Now, this was pretty wild for me. I didn’t understand how the credit card worked. I treated like this was free money. I bought a new shiny laptop, fancy monitors and all the tech stuff that I had only seen on TVs. And guess what? I was only required to pay about $70 a month. Not having to pay cash upfront was a batshit crazy new concept to me. In Nepal, you could only buy something if you had cash for it. Anyways, this was how made entry to the world of credit cards. When I graduated from my undergrad, I was in about $7,000 credit card debt and $200 in my bank account but no student debt.
Right after I graduated, I was able to land a full-time job at the company I was doing an internship. The pay was meager for the position. However, due to my visa restriction, I didn’t have many options, so I took the job anyway. With the increase in the number of hours, I was going to work and also increase in the salary, albeit not much, I quadrupled my income overnight. Instead of making plans to pay off my credit card debt, I thought I deserved something special. So what do I do? I leased a brand new car off the dealership. At this moment is where my downward financial spiral started.

Most immigrants from Nepal are very frugal. They move thousands of miles away from their family with the primary objective of saving as much as you can and then send every saved penny back to your family. One of my best friends from Nepal who had moved to the USA with me at the same time had that same mentality. Save as much as you can and send everything back home. One day I talked to him, and he casually mentions that so far in the last seven years of being in the USA, he has sent almost $100,000 back to Nepal. At the same time, I had sent my parents exactly $0. Not only that, but I was also in a $7,000 credit card debt, and I was driving a car that I couldn’t afford. This whole experience made me realize that I need to start doing something different.

REALIZATION

FINANCIAL AWARENESS

I really needed to figure out my actual financial state. I needed to assess my financial health at this point. So, I started by listing all my debts, bank balances, and all my investments. Who am I kidding I had no investment at the time. I started reading every personal finance book I could get my hands on. The one that stuck with me was Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.
I went to rice and bean crazy mode. I sold everything I could sell. I got rid of my car lease and bought a cheaper car. I was out of debt in no time. I still had an auto loan, but it was still not as crazy as my lease payment. I started tracking every single dollar where the name for the blog Tracking Dollars.
I became frugal and was living under my means, but that was only one part of the equation. The other part was I needed to find a higher paying job or find a second source of income.

I have a degree in Manufacturing Engineering. Since I wasn’t satisfied with my pay, I started looking for a higher paying job in the same field. Due to my visa restrictions, the job market was pretty limited. After months of searching and lots of rejections, I was finally able to land a job that pretty much doubled my salary. Increasing my wage doesn’t mean much I was just underpaid. This time I was smart did not make any lifestyle changes. After working for about two years, I was not too fond of this job. My boss was never satisfied, he was always micromanaging, and I got tired of this. One day I was so frustrated that I just gave my two weeks’ notice. I didn’t last two weeks; I ended up walking out on the 3rd day of the two weeks’ notice.
I don’t think I ever felt better in my life after walking out. Even though I felt better now, I had no source of income. I hated working as a manufacturing engineer. So, I thought to myself I am never going to get a better opportunity than this to start a new career. I had some money saved up at this point, and I could afford not to work for a few months. Well, luck was on my side this time. I had a buddy in the IT industry, and his work was looking to hire someone. I didn’t have any IT experience, but I was an Engineer, so they were willing to take a chance. It was a huge pay cut, but I was glad I was doing something I enjoyed. That was how I made my entry into the IT industry.
Once I started working in the industry soon, I realized I severely lacked skills to move up. So, I decided to go back to school and got a Masters Degree in Information System while still working full time. I used up all of my savings, but I was able to finish the master with zero degrees in student debt. With no savings and no debt(except auto loan), it was time to start a clean slate.

BIG CHANGES

BEGINNING OF THE END

With my master’s degree in hand and a couple of years of experience in the industry, I was finally able to land a job that I liked and paid much better. I was making a six-figure base salary plus bonus. As of 2020, I have been in the same place for the last four years. Four years is the longest I have worked anywhere. Not only that, but I was also able to land a couple of side jobs that I was able to do after hours. Now I was making some serious money. With a full-time job and my side jobs, I was easily making 150K+ pre-tax.

Although I am satisfied with my job and income, this is not something I want to do for multiple decades. The work I do is not meaningful enough that I want to spend all my life dedicated to it. At the end of the day, why am I spending 10-12 hours a day working for someone else? The only reason, I need money! Without money, I will be homeless in no time. I left my family and moved 8,000 miles away when I was 18. In the past 13 years, I have seen my parents a total of 6 times. I have two nieces and one nephew that I barely know. I feel like I am not even a part of a family. I am sick of missing my family and celebrating every major holiday via Skype and Facebook Messenger videos. I want this to end. I want to end being a slave to the money. I want to end trading my time for the money.

I had a major personal life event recently which turned out to be very expensive. I lost a significant portion of my net worth however I am still on a good track. The event made me realize that life is unpredictable so it’s even more important that we start working towards our goals and ambition without any delays.
The plan is to achieve financial independence in the next 10 years. I can achieve FI at much lower net worth but the current goal is to retire with the net worth of 1.5 million dollars and two paid off houses. It’s a hefty goal. However, I have extrapolated the numbers, and barring any major events it’s very doable.

PLAN

WHY THIS BLOG?

It’s human nature that you are more responsible when you are held accountable. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you have someone to hold you accountable. However, money is a very sensitive topic. I seriously don’t have anyone to talk about money and financial goal. I have a bunch of people I can talk to about my physical fitness and goals. However, when it comes to money nobody feels comfortable talking about it.
I want to use this blog to have money conversations with myself. I want to use this blog as a means to keep me accountable. I want to use this blog as a financial journal. I want to use this blog to track my financial independence. I want this blog to be my story about how I am going to win the battle against the money.

Come join me on my journey to the financial freedom. Namaste!

CONTACT

Email: anil@trackingdollars.com
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT, 84054

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